Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Got Phive On It!

Philadelphia Magazine published an article this week all about our Phantom Phive...the ownership group of the Phillies. The author, Richard Rys, even compared the ownership group's popularity in Philadelphia to that of Mumia Abu-Jamal at a police function. He also claimed that the famous ball field saying, "play ball", has been replaced in the front office with "play it safe." Comedic zings and punchlines aside, while stories like this are a good read, all they do is put me in a Phoul mood.

With the Flyers' loss in the 2008 playoffs, Philadelphia has just completed its 100th consecutive major pro sports season (counting the big 4 teams) without winning a championship. Yes, 25 years times 4 teams= one hundred seasons without a championship. Quotes from the face of the Phillies ownership group, Dave Montgomery, like, "I just believe the organization needs an image that’s not directly tied to wins and losses", completely makes me want to violate that man's rear quarters with my size 12 New Balances. Rys fires back with the right rebuttal, pointing out phans' needs for championships. Good for him, but the Phartin' Phive won't take heed. If the Phillies win a World Series, it may very well be in spite of the owners and their lack of focus and help.

The Phillies' payroll is 13th highest in the major leagues this season. They currently have the 13th best record in the major leagues. 8 teams make the post season, so 13th best doesn't quite cut it.

Here's the web address for the PhillyMag article. Have a look.

http://www.phillymag.com/articles/the_phantom_five/page1



A very fine Phillies message board, known as BackSheGoes, has a poll going asking members who will be the Phillies 5th starter at the all star break. Kris Benson leads the voting with 37%. Check out the site for that topic as well as many others.

http://www.backshegoes.com/bsg/viewforum.php?f=1



Smooth-Roll walks watch-
After calling out Jimmy Rollins for not walking enough, in my last post here, his on-base percentage quickly went up about 70 points in the following 10 days. I'll take all the props for that. No doubt.

"#1" slump watch-
The Phillies have now lost 6 straight games that Brett Myers has started. The team has a .273 winning % in games he starts. No recovery in sight for Brett.


Stats to ponder...
2 time ML promotion deserver TJ Bohn has a .162 batting average in 32 triple A games this season, while Greg Golson is hitting .317 and Jason Donald is hitting .302 (both at double A). Eric Bruntlett and Greg Dobbs both dabble in the OF, so it's not like Bohn's a necessary addition due to positional scarcity.

Colbert Hamels vs. Houston...4 games, 3-0 record, 3.14 ERA, .215 batting avg against.
Christopher Sampson vs. Philadelphia...4 games, 0-2 record, 6.19 ERA, .357 batting avg against.
Prediction- Phillies earn a series split on Sunday.


Alright, gang. Until next time...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ice cold


Who’s the furthest away from setting the green grass at CBP on fire?

Brett Myers, “the #1 starter”, has a 7.71 ERA in 3 May starts this season. Myers’ career ERA in May is 3.34, which is actually his best month.

After scorching every bit of turf he stepped on during April, with a 1.136 OPS and only striking out 15 times in 27 games, Pat Burrell is hitting .231 in May with 15 strike outs in 12 games played. Burrell’s career OPS in May is .933, which is his best month aside from the small sample size of October games he has played.

Ryan Howard has a 6-game hitting streak going, which has raised his batting average to .182 for the season. Howard’s career splits improve each month of the season. His batting avg in May is .017 higher than April, June is .033 higher than May, July is .014 higher than June and so on.

So, with typical improvement in production expected from these 3 home grown talents not happening, should the Phillies be worried? I’d have to say no. There is too much talent on this team right now for the Phillies to slump themselves out of post season contention, this early. Consider that in the 100+ year history of the Phillies, there are only 5 Phillies to have their jersey numbers retired by the team. It is quite possible that if this core group of players stays in town long enough, that there are currently 4 or 5 players on this team who could be honored in that manner some day. Chase Utley has been anointed a lock for Hall of Fame status down the road. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are league MVP’s who would certainly be worthy of jersey retirement consideration. Cole Hamels could very well become the greatest home grown pitcher in the team’s history. And then there is Pat Burrell who is swiftly rising on the Phillies’ lists of career offensive achievements. Of course, this roster would never gain consideration as the best Phillies team of all time if they don’t win a World Series, but I believe we’re all watching the best collection of talent that the Phillies have ever had at one time, outside of that 1980 World Champion squad.

On another note, would you be surprised to learn that your reigning National League Most Valuable Player and lead-off batter has walked only once this season? You would? Good, because that’s what I was going for there.

Statement to ponder: So Taguchi is the new Endy Chavez. In 2005, as a member of the Phillies, Chavez had just 2 hits in 40 games played after July. Granted, several of those appearances were as a defensive replacement or pinch runner. Taguchi is hitless since April 25th and is shaping up to have an Endy-like stint with the Phils.

Compare (or ponder) these stat lines…
37 games played, 110 at bats, 11 runs, 2 homers, 7 RBI, .255 avg., .291 OBP.
21 games played, 59 at bats, 8 runs, 3 homers, 8 RBI, .339 avg., .418 OBP.
Folks, that is Geoff Jenkins (5 million dollars salary in 2008) vs. Chris Coste (415,000 dollars salary in 2008).

Signing off…this has been Jay for the Phoul Ballz Blog Network.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Phillies stuph, part 1

Welcome to the Phillies baseball blog brought to you by Fox Sports 1260.

Some entries here might be thoroughly organized, and based on one topic. Others, today’s for example, will feature details on various Phillies related matters.

To kick things off on the best note possible, don’t expect the Phillies to make the post season this year. In case you missed it, last week the Phillies announced that they were bringing Mike Lieberthal back for one day, so he can retire as a Phillie. Many of you are aware that every season since 1992 that the Phillies did not have Mike Lieberthal on their roster, that won the division title. Sure, it was only 2 years out of 14, but obviously it’s a certainty that Liebey is a jynx. June 1st, the day Lieberthal returns, will be D-Day for the Phightin’ Phils.

Gavin Floyd: Ace Starter?! Twice in under a month, the phormer Phillies top draft pick has flirted with a no hitter for the Chicago White Sox. His strike out to walk ratio (19:18) is not gleaming at all, but a 2.50 ERA and 0.96 WHIP are enough to make Phillies phans cry out “Dubya tee eff?”

Scott Mathieson may need another surgery. The Phillies' pitching prospect, Mathieson, has been out since late 2006, when he got Tommy John surgery. A second surgery was performed in 2007 to clean up the repaired area, and now Mathieson is facing a possible 3rd surgery…a complete re-do of the initial surgery. The Canadian righty was always said to have a high ceiling, so here’s to a better recovery this time around.

Stat to ponder…the Phillies are 12-4 in games that Pat Burrell scores at least one run, this season. Stop pinch running for Burrell…?

Statement to ponder…JD Drew helped the Phillies become the 1st place, defending NL East champs that they are today. Consider this…If JD Drew signed with the Phillies in 1997, after the annual amateur draft, the Phillies likely would not have drafted Pat Burrell the next season and instead select Mark Mulder. With Mark Mulder in the organization, the Phillies likely don’t draft Brett Myers in 1999. And would all of that effect the 1st round selection of Chase Utley in 2000? Potentially…
So, in the end, David Jonathan Drew’s (where the heck did he ever get “JD” from, anyway?) refusal to sign with the Phillies in 1997 helped form the nucleus that won a division title 10 years later.

More to come soon. Thanks for reading.